What are "makerspaces"?

American Libraries began its "Manufacturing Makerspaces" feature in the January/February 2013 issue this way (p. 44):

Kids gather to make Lego robots; teens create digital music, movies, and games with computers and mixers; and students engineer new projects while adults create prototypes for small business products with laser cutters and 3D printers. Many libraries across the US have developed makerspaces—places to create, build, and craft—and they are experiencing increased visits and demand as a result. For public libraries, they are places to promote community engagement. For academic libraries, they are places where students and faculty feel welcome to do classwork and research.

Fundamentally, makerspaces are a technological leap past library knitting and quilting circles, where patrons and experts have often come together to learn new techniques and train others in a skill. The new tools are a lot flashier, and certainly more expensive than a needle and thread. The cost factor is what makes a makerspace so appealing to library visitors—what one person cannot afford to purchase for occasional use, the library can buy and share with the community.


Makerspaces @ your library!

Are makerspaces for your library? Explore the possibilities. On October 28, 2013, ALA announced, "Make it @ your library website launches, connecting librarians with makerspace projects and DIY resources":

In collaboration with and the American Library Association, Make it @ Your Library introduces, a new website tailored to librarians interested in implementing makerspace projects in their libraries.  Fully searchable, Make it @ your library connects users to projects, based on library-specific search criteria... is a popular online DIY community for people over age 13 to make and share their projects, ideas and how-to information. DIY projects posted to include such categories as technology, crafts, home improvement, art, cooking and more.  With its link to the new Make it @ your library website, librarians can easily identify and select DIY projects that are cost, age and content appropriate for specific communities.


Key Resources

Resources | Make It @ Your Library

Makerspaces and Digital Media Labs

Makerspaces in Libraries

LibraryLab Community in ALA Connect


Last updated November 7, 2013